Thomas Tommasina (1855 – 29 January 1935)was an artist turned physicist who worked on atmospheric ionization and gravitational theories mainly after moving to Switzerland. An experimenter as well as a theoretician, he invented a radio-receiver-like device while studying ionospheric disturbances in the upper atmosphere and used it in long-range weather prediction.
Tommasina was born in the town of Intra (today part of Verbania) on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia. In his early years, he admired the Italian school of painting, particularly that of Leonardo da Vinci.
Verbania is the most populous comune (municipality) and the capital city of the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. It is situated on the shore of Lake Maggiore, about 91 km (57 mi) north-west of Milan and about 40 km (25 mi) from Locarno in Switzerland. It had a population of 30,827 at 1 January 2017.
Lake Maggiore or Verbano is a large lake located on the south side of the Alps. It is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino. Located halfway between Lake Orta and Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore extends for about 65 kilometres between Locarno and Arona.
The Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, commonly called the "Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom", was a constituent land of the Austrian Empire. It was created in 1815 by resolution of the Congress of Vienna in recognition of the Austrian House of Habsburg-Lorraine's rights to Lombardy and the former Republic of Venice after the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed in 1805, had collapsed. It was finally dissolved in 1866 when its remaining territory was incorporated into the recently proclaimed Kingdom of Italy.
Tommasina studied art. In 1885 he became inspired by the works of Alessandro Volta, took an interest in physics and went to Geneva to study under Charles Soret. Here he worked on the physics behind the hardness of solids. Following the works of Julius Elster and Hans Friedrich Geitel he joined Édouard Sarasin in studies on the ionization of air and related phenomena.He was a doctor of science and member of the National Institute of Geneva from 1902.
Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta was an Italian physicist, chemist, and pioneer of electricity and power who is credited as the inventor of the electric battery and the discoverer of methane. He invented the Voltaic pile in 1799, and reported the results of his experiments in 1800 in a two-part letter to the President of the Royal Society. With this invention Volta proved that electricity could be generated chemically and debunked the prevalent theory that electricity was generated solely by living beings. Volta's invention sparked a great amount of scientific excitement and led others to conduct similar experiments which eventually led to the development of the field of electrochemistry.
Charles Soret was a Swiss physicist and chemist. He is known for his work on thermodiffusion.
Julius Johann Phillipp Ludwig Elster was a teacher and physicist.
Tommasina wrote a book on the "physics of gravitation and dynamic of the Universe" ("La Physique de la Gravitation et la Dynamique de l'Univers") in 1927. : études sur les résultats des recherches scientifiques, sur l'unité et la pluralité des mondes".He also worked on the orbits of comets during this period. His work on gravity using wave models was founded on the idea of ether. He also wrote an introduction to a French translation of a book by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1907 - "La place de l'homme dans l'univers
According to ancient and medieval science, aether, also spelled æther or ether and also called quintessence, is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere. The concept of aether was used in several theories to explain several natural phenomena, such as the traveling of light and gravity. In the late 19th century, physicists postulated that aether permeated all throughout space, providing a medium through which light could travel in a vacuum, but evidence for the presence of such a medium was not found in the Michelson–Morley experiment, and this result has been interpreted as meaning that no such luminiferous aether exists.
Tommasina invented a telephonic receiver system which he adapted as a weather forecasting system in 1901. Called the "Electro-radiophone" it picked up electric discharges in the atmosphere and transmitted them over wires to where it could be heard in the form of sound. The receiver made use of the Branly effect. It may have been one of the earliest ideas on using wireless telegraphy in meteorology.Tommasina's device had also been of interest to Guglielmo Marconi. When Marconi claimed a patent there were several counter-claims and it was suggested that the true inventor of the so-called "mercury-coherer" used in the first transatlantic telegraphy was Tommasina. Tommasina did not however use it for the purpose of wireless-telegraphy nor did he claim to be its inventor.
Édouard Eugène Désiré Branly was a French inventor, physicist and professor at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He is primarily known for his early involvement in wireless telegraphy and his invention of the Branly coherer around 1890.
Guglielmo Marconi, 1st Marquis of Marconi was an Italian inventor, and electrical engineer, known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission, development of Marconi's law, and a radio telegraph system. He is credited as the inventor of radio, and he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy".
On 29 January 1935, Tommasina died at his villa in Champel, Geneva, Switzerland.
Champel is a neighborhood in the city of Geneva, Switzerland.
Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.
Sir John Ambrose Fleming FRS was an English electrical engineer and physicist who invented the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube, designed the radio transmitter with which the first transatlantic radio transmission was made, and also established the right-hand rule used in physics. He was the eldest of seven children of James Fleming DD, a Congregational minister, and his wife Mary Ann, at Lancaster, Lancashire, and baptised on 11 February 1850. A devout Christian, he once preached at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London on evidence for the resurrection. In 1932, he and Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Fleming bequeathed much of his estate to Christian charities, especially those for the poor. He was a noted photographer, painted water colours, and enjoyed climbing the Alps.
Karl Ferdinand Braun was a German inventor, physicist and Nobel laureate in physics. Braun contributed significantly to the development of radio and television technology: he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Guglielmo Marconi "for their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy".
The early history of radio is the history of technology that produces and uses radio instruments that use radio waves. Within the timeline of radio, many people contributed theory and inventions in what became radio. Radio development began as "wireless telegraphy". Later radio history increasingly involves matters of broadcasting.
Wireless telegraphy means transmission of telegraph signals by radio waves; a more specific term for this is radiotelegraphy. Before about 1910 when radio became dominant, the term wireless telegraphy was also used for various other experimental technologies for transmitting telegraph signals without wires, such as electromagnetic induction, and ground conduction telegraph systems.
The coherer was a primitive form of radio signal detector used in the first radio receivers during the wireless telegraphy era at the beginning of the 20th century. Its use in radio was based on the 1890 findings of French physicist Edouard Branly and adapted by other physicists and inventors over the next ten years. The device consists of a tube or capsule containing two electrodes spaced a small distance apart with loose metal filings in the space between. When a radio frequency signal is applied to the device, the metal particles would cling together or "cohere", reducing the initial high resistance of the device, thereby allowing a much greater direct current to flow through it. In a receiver, the current would activate a bell, or a Morse paper tape recorder to make a record of the received signal. The metal filings in the coherer remained conductive after the signal (pulse) ended so that the coherer had to be "decohered" by tapping it with a clapper actuated by an electromagnet, each time a signal was received, thereby restoring the coherer to its original state. Coherers remained in widespread use until about 1907, when they were replaced by more sensitive electrolytic and crystal detectors.
Alexander Stepanovich Popov was a Russian physicist, who was one of the first persons to invent a radio receiving device.
A spark-gap transmitter is an obsolete type of radio transmitter which generates radio waves by means of an electric spark. Spark-gap transmitters were the first type of radio transmitter, and were the main type used during the wireless telegraphy or "spark" era, the first three decades of radio, from 1887 to the end of World War 1. German physicist Heinrich Hertz built the first experimental spark-gap transmitters in 1887, with which he discovered radio waves and studied their properties.
Louis Jurine was a Swiss physician, surgeon and naturalist mainly interested in entomology. He lived in Geneva.
The invention of radio communication, although generally attributed to Guglielmo Marconi in the 1890s, spanned many decades, from theoretical underpinnings, through proof of the phenomenon's existence, development of technical means, to its final use in signalling.
The magnetic detector or Marconi magnetic detector, sometimes called the "Maggie", was an early radio wave detector used in some of the first radio receivers to receive Morse code messages during the wireless telegraphy era around the turn of the 20th century. Developed in 1902 by radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi from a method invented in 1895 by New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford it was used in Marconi wireless stations until around 1912, when it was superseded by vacuum tubes. It was widely used on ships because of its reliability and insensitivity to vibration. A magnetic detector was part of the wireless apparatus in the radio room of the RMS Titanic which was used to summon help during its famous 15 April 1912 sinking.
The timeline of radio lists within the history of radio, the technology and events that produced instruments that use radio waves and activities that people undertook. Later, the history is dominated by programming and contents, which is closer to general history.
Augusto Righi was an Italian physicist and a pioneer in the study of electromagnetism. He was born and died in Bologna.
Harry Shoemaker was an American inventor and pioneer radio engineer, who received more than 40 U.S. patents in the radio field from 1901 to 1905. His transmitter and receiver designs set the standard for the U. S. commercial radio industry up to World War One.
Camille Papin Tissot was a French naval officer and pioneer of wireless telegraphy who established the first French operational radio connections at sea.
Hermann Fol was a Swiss zoologist and the father of modern cytology.
Pierre Revilliod (1883–1954) was a Swiss naturalist.
Edouard Sarasin was an independent scientist in Geneva. Born in a wealthy family, he established a private laboratory where he collaborated with other researchers. His studies included those on the properties of waves, resonance, radiowaves, radiation and geophysics.
Georges César Tiercy (1886–1955) was a Swiss astronomer and the 7th director of the Observatoire de Genève from 1928 to 1956.